‘Into The Woods’ Star Sara Bareilles: ‘Humanity is Dark’

Sara Bareilles sees many layers in the Stephen Sondheim classic Into the Woods.

“The material is so dark and light at the same time, so it’s a very complicated show,” the Grammy winner and two-time Tony nominee told the Post exclusively after her performance with the Encores at the NYC Center! Production of “Into the Woods”.

In it, the “Brave” singer and “Waitress” composer/star, 42, plays the baker opposite Neil Patrick Harris, 48, who plays her husband.

The popular show, which has been revived several times since her incarnation as Bernadette Peters in 1987 and adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep in 2014, is about a mishmash of fairy tales including Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood. A subject that has long fascinated Bareilles.

“Many, many years ago I wrote a song about how damn — I think fairy tales are called ‘fairytales,'” she said. “It’s about what happens the day after – ‘and they lived happily ever after’ – because we watch them ride into the sunset, and now what? Then the real s – – t goes down.”

Sara Bareilles and Neil Patrick Harris pose during the encores at New York City Center "In the forest" Press Day rehearsals at New York City Center on April 27, 2022 in New York City.
Bareilles has great stage chemistry with Neil Patrick Harris.
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The star of Peacock’s hilarious ‘Girls 5 Eva,’ which has been renewed for a second season, believes fairy tales reflect the dark side of humankind.

“They are very dark. I think humanity is dark,” she said. “We are monsters and angels and everything in between. I love that the show doesn’t really have a happy ending. There’s a lot of pain, sadness and loss involved, and that’s more true to what life is really like.”

Bareilles laughed as The Post commented on her and Harris’ amazing onstage chemistry, playfully suggesting the actor could “switch teams” for her.

Neil Patrick Harris and Sara Bareilles during the opening night gala for the Encores production Curtain Call "In the forest" at New York City Center on May 4, 2022 in New York City.
Harris and Bareilles on opening night at the New York City Center. The show, which runs for two weeks through May 15, also stars Tony winners Heather Headley and Gavin Creel.
Bruce Glikas/WireImage

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” she said, “but you’re thrown in at the deep end and you have to hold on. This whole process was really hard and overwhelming, so you have to learn to trust each other pretty quickly and luckily we did that.

“He’s so playful and so thorough and thinking about every moment and asking a lot of questions which is so helpful. I’m kinda new to all this.”

The show, which runs for two weeks through May 15, also stars Tony winners Heather Headley and Gavin Creel.

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